The Most Beautiful Country: interim results

Apr 07, 2021 at 16:00 •

All entries in for the 7th Photo Competition of the Russian Geographical Society, The Most Beautiful Country. Between 14 December 2020 and 5 April 2021, all photographers, whether professional or amateur, were able to upload their best photos to the project’s website. A total of 65,661 entries were received.

The highest competition was in the categories Landscape and Taken with a Smartphone (21,295 and 15,579 entries respectively). The third most popular one was The Magic of Water: photographers sent in 4735 snapshots of the watery element. And 4728 photos were entered in the Wild Animals category.

Apart from that, entries were solicited in categories such as Amusing Pets, A Bird’s-Eye View of Russia, Wildlife Art (art photo), The Many Faces of Russia, Photo Project and Live Archive.

This year is the first time that the competition accepts videos along with photographs. A total of 1418 videos have been received, which tell the stories behind unique shots. The maker of the best video will receive a special award, Making-of. The Most Beautiful Country will also include a presentation of special awards from the competition’s sponsors. The Timchenko Foundation has set up an award called The Aged Faces of Russia and will select the best shot taken in Russian provinces. VTB Bank will confer on the author of the best photo taken in designated conservation areas a special award called Russia Wildlife Sanctuary.

As before, the photo competition includes a strand for young photographers up to 16 years old – The Most Beautiful Country Through the Eyes of Children. This year, it has seen 7225 pics entered. They are competing in four categories: Landscape, Animal Kingdom, Human World, and Macrocosm. And the fiercest battle is expected in the category Landscape (4121 snapshots received).

For the seventh year now, the photos of Russia sent in to the RGS Photo Competition please, surprise, give food for thought, and delight. One-of-a-kind photos from across this country offer the viewer a virtual journey of thousand kilometres — to the Ai-Petri mountain, Lake Zyuratkul, Lipetsk and Magadan Oblasts, Primorye or the Republic of Dagestan. The photo entries will be judged by 17 members of the Jury Panel — renowned photographers and photo editors. By 30 April 2021, they will select 10 best entries in each of the categories of the main competition and 5 in each of the children’s categories. Those photos will be shortlisted.

Between 3 and 14 May, the shortlisted photos will be vying for the Audience Award: open online voting  on the competition’s website at By the end of June 2021, the photo competition’s jury will have met to identify the winners, as well as the first and second runners-up in each category.

As is the tradition, the jury of the photo competition comprises well-known public and cultural figures as well as renowned master photographers. So the competition entries will be judged by famed national photographers such as Sergey Gorshkov, Viktor Tyakht, Maksim Marmur and others, as well as world-famous photographers and cameramen such as Thorsten Milse, Florian Ledoux, Marco Urso and Philippe Ros.

Also, the jury includes theatre and film actors such as Sergey Garmash, Vladimir Mashkov and Anton Shagin, Natalia Grigoryeva-Litvinskaya, the founder of the Lumière Brothers Gallery and the Lumière Brothers Photography Centre, Marina Loshak, head of the Pushkin GMII [National Museum of Fine Arts (NMFA)], and cosmonaut Ivan Vagner. As always, the jury is presided over by Konstantin Leifer, photo editor and docent at the communication, media and design faculty of the Higher School of Economics.

The winners of the Most Beautiful Country photo competition will receive 250,000 roubles in each category, and the winners of the children’s strand will be awarded professional cameras.

The Russian Geographical Society has been running the annual Most Beautiful Country photo competition since 2015. The very first competition was entered by 25 thousand photographers from all over the world; they uploaded some 200 thousand pics to the project’s website. Over seven years, the competition has received 575 thousand entries.

The entrants take pictures using upmarket cameras and garden-variety smartphones. The key condition is that the photographs be taken in this country. The best works are displayed at exhibitions in Russia and abroad.

The featured photo: In Anticipation of Happiness by Yulia Popova.